[travel] Chinatown @ Incheon, Korea

I like Seoul and all its diverse ranges of food and cultural venues, but soon enough new places start running out and sadly so does my creativity when it comes to choosing a good one to hang out. In addition to my pent-up frustration, the weather is at its worst these days (raining mornings, wet snow and blowing winds etc.) which makes every Friday aka the only time of the week I have a full day off a problem. This weekend, in order to celebrate non-existent Thanksgiving in Korea aka a reasonable excuse to get out of Seoul, I headed to Incheon and spent the day walking around Korea’s only official Chinatown.

This post is pretty personal what with my face plastered all over on photos, trivial complaints and cat-centered stories so…you have been warned.

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[eat] Chinese dumpling at Jonny Dumpling @ Itaewon, Seoul

As much as I like Chinese dumplings never in a decade had I dared to think there would be a decent Chinese dumpling house in Seoul, let alone Itaewon. Chinese food, in the process of being imported to Korean cuisine, has changed and lost most of its specialties in order to suit Korean people’s palate. Mandu – Korean dumpling is not that bad but even the best mandu at Bukchon Mandu can’t compare to the other members of its family. It was merely by chance I discovered Jonny Dumpling but I’m glad I did because now I finally have a place to go to when in need of a good dumpling fill.

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[eat] Chicken rice at 漢年茶餐廳 & Fried chicken at Hot Star Chicken @ Tai Wai, Hong Kong

I love anything chicken, seriously. It is one life-long romance I have long fondly embracing and won’t likely let it go. How can I let it go, seriously, when I am basically surrounded by chicken all the time? Korea is the land of chicken; chicken is the cheapest meat you can find in a Korean supermarket. They elevate fried chicken to a whole new level, while at the same time come up with numerous ways to spice up a pollo. Now, even when I am in Hong Kong, my sleep at night is still haunted by the fabulous fried chicken at the nearby Hot Star Chicken (a Taiwanese snack shop & Deli with branches in Hong Kong). Worse still, I have officially been diagnosed with a new obsession: Salted chicken fried rice at 漢年茶餐廳 (Hong Lin Restaurant).

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[eat] A dimsum feast at the Michelin starred One Dim Sum @ Mongkok, Hong Kong

Today marks my first experience at a Michelin starred restaurant, and the best part was that the meal didn’t come with a high price tag. At ~150HKD for 2 people (= 21000 KRW, which could only buy me a mediocre meal in Korea), we filled ourselves to the brim with some of the most delicious dimsum in town at 一點心 One Dim Sum. Like the oh-so-famous Tim Ho Wan (I bet that when one mentions Michelin starred dimsum joints, Tim Ho Wan is probably what they have in mind), One Dim Sum is probably the cheapest Michelin star restaurant in the world. Unlike Tim Ho Wan, however, One Dim Sum seems to receive much less hype, and according to the bf, the food there is in general better than that at Tim Ho Wan. While I am certain that I will post about Tim Ho Wan in the future, for now, I have to agree with the bf that the dimsum we had at One Dim Sum were anything but ordinary.

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[eat] Eat my way out in Central: Burgers at Shake ‘Em Buns & Jianbing @ Mr.Bing & Bubble tea @ Gong Cha

I don’t usually make the trek to Hong Kong Island, but when I do, it is for food >v< Today, the bf took me to a hip, sassy, burger joint in Central, Shake ‘Em Buns for lunch, followed by jianbing at the new buzz in town Mr.Bing. As I happily discovered a few days ago that Gong Cha, a celebrated bubble tea chain which has the best bubble tea in the world, sells their drinks in Hong Kong at such low prices (in fact, about half the price in Korea), I have been tanking myself up with a huge cup of Gong Cha every day. Of course, today was no exception.

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[eat] Chinese lamb skewers at Megak @ Anam, Seoul

I am seriously committed to my new ritual of making a trek to Anam–where Korea University is located–to explore the food scene. That is why yesterday, the 3 of us–2 always-hungry-girls (who also went out with me for Korean BBQ last week) and I–treated ourselves to some yummy lamb skewers at Anam’s local Chinese restaurant MEGAK (미각/味覺)

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[eat] You can’t go wrong with Lamb at Simyang @ Hongdae, Seoul

My heart has a soft spot (or lots) for meat on a stick. I go wild when I see any meat on any stick. Even just looking at them makes me happy. And along comes Simyang 심양 — specialized in lamb. Lamb on a stick? Challenge accepted.
Simyang is quite a popular hangout at Hongdae and seems to gather much love from Korean food bloggers. As far as I know, there is another Simyang in Cheongdamdong but I usually visit the one in Hongdae. At Hongdae branch, you can get Original lamb skewers, Tender lamb, and Spicy lamb (10000 KRW for 10 skewers); Pay 2000 KRW extra and the normal lamb is upgraded to lamb rib meat. They also have lamb chops at 25000 KRW for 300gr. Other standard Korean fare are available (you know, the ramyeon, and kimchi jjigae), as well as Chinese specialty aka. Qingdao beer. It looks like the Cheongdamdong branch has more choices on lamb, however.

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[eat] Extraordinary Peking duck at Spring Deer @ Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong

I have never tried Peking duck before, and luckily my first time trying this Chinese national dish was extraordinary. Spring Deer restaurant is a super popular Chinese restaurant with hungry eaters crowding the place every night which makes reservation is a must. From what I know, besides Peking duck, the restaurant also has other excellent dishes, which is understandable because the duck they served us was simply amazing.

The price is not dirt cheap, but reasonable (300 HKD for a duck; 5HKD for peanuts as appetizer (is it even appetizer but whatever) and 10 HKD for a teapot for 2; 10% VAT is charged). It took a while for the duck to be roasted but we didn’t wait for nothing. They carved the duck in front of us:

And two plates of meat were ready:

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[eat] Homey, cozy dinner at Saint’s Alp Teahouse @ Taiwai, Hong Kong

First off, Saint’s Alp Teahouse (http://www.saintsalp.com.hk) has different branches in Hong Kong — and it looks like at least the Philippines and the US have Saint’s Alp. This is the review for Saint’s Alp in Taiwai.

Initially we wanted to go to Shatin Inn for some Indonesian satays but the place CHOSE to be closed today :\ We took a lazy stroll along a foodie street in Taiwai and came across this teahouse. The menu outside looked quite cool, we usually don’t randomly pop in a restaurant (we have to do a research before trying lol) but well…

Fortunately we were not disappointed…

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[eat] The best meal I’ve had in Hong Kong: Hot pot @ Little Sheep, Mongkok

Actually I am enjoying my long vacation in Hong Kong.  How I love this city, the landscape, the shops (esp. nail polish stores), and the food.  I’m just back from a super lunch — a hotpot lunch at Little Sheep (Xiao Fei Yang), branched in Mongkok, Kowloon City, Hong Kong.  I have known about Little Sheep for a long time, it is super famous and has branches in many countries (I know that there is a branch in Hongdae, Seoul.  The name is 샤오훼이양).  

If I were to rate the meal on a scale of 5, I’d give it 6.  It was just amazing.  The broth, oh the broth.  Usually I’d prefer the spicy broth, but the ‘plain’ (? — I mean non-spicy) version here just blew my minddddd.  Both are SO good, though.  There are tons of garlics, ginger, chilies etc. in it. We got the half/half broth (83 Hong Kong dollar). The whole ‘plain’ one is 73 and the spicy 88.
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